The former champion has dropped to 373 in the world, her lowest ranking
since August 2002, and has lost in the first round of her past three Grand Slam
In announcing her retirement, Maria Sharapova said: “I’m new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis – I’m saying
“Looking back now, I realize that
tennis has been my mountain. My path has been filled with valleys and detours,
but the views from its peak were incredible.
“After 28 years and five Grand
Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a
different type of terrain.
“That relentless chase for
victories, though? That won’t ever diminish. No matter what lies ahead, I will
apply the same focus, the same work ethic, and all of the lessons I’ve learned
along the way.
“In the meantime, there are a few
simple things I’m really looking forward to: A sense of stillness with my
family. Lingering over a morning cup of coffee. Unexpected weekend getaways.
Workouts of my choice (hello, dance class!)”
Maria Sharapova said her 6-1, 6-1 first-round defeat by Serena Williams at
2019 US Open was the “final signal”.
She did not play again in 2019 after that defeat at Flushing Meadows and has
played just twice in 2020, including a straight sets loss to Croat Donna Vekic
in the Australian Open first round, her last competitive appearance..
Maria Sharapova shot to stardom in 2004 aged just 17 when victory over
Serena Williams saw her become the third-youngest woman to win the Wimbledon
She would go on to become one of the most high-profile names in women’s
sport, winning 36 singles titles and earning more than $38 million in prize
In 2005, Maria Sharapova became the first Russian woman to become world No 1, and won her second Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 2006.
Maria Sharapova’s sponsors have moved quickly to distance themselves from the tennis champion after she admitted failing a drug test.
Nike has suspended its relationship with the five-time Grand Slam tennis champion, while Tag Heuer has cut its ties.
The sportswear giant said it was “saddened and surprised” at Maria Sharapova’s admission that she tested positive for a banned substance at the Australian Open in January.
The former world No 1 said she had been taking meldonium since 2006, on the advice of her family doctor.
Maria Sharapova, 28, is one of the highest paid female athletes with earnings of over $30 million 2015 from winnings and endorsements.
In addition to the moves from Nike and Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer, automaker Porsche said it was “postponing planned activities” with Maria Sharapova until the situation became clearer.
Maria Sharapova’s relationship with Nike dates back to when she was 11 years old.
The sportswear giant said: “We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues.
“We will continue to monitor the situation.”
In 2010, the Russian tennis player signed a new eight-year contract with Nike worth $70 million as well as a cut on sales of her own branded clothes.
Tag Heuer was in talks to extend its deal with Maria Sharapova, which ran out at the end of last year.
The Swiss watchmaker said those talks had now been suspended and the company had decided not to renew the contract.
In 2014, Porsche named her as its first female ambassador and she signed a three-year deal with the car company.
That contract is due to end at the end of this year.
In a statement, the carmaker said: “We are saddened by the recent news announced by Maria Sharapova. Until further details are released and we can analyze the situation, we have chosen to postpone planned activities.”
Maria Sharapova is also the face of Avon perfume, Luck, and the water company Evian. They have yet to comment on the matter.
She tested positive for meldonium, a substance she said she had been taking since 2006 for health issues.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said Maria Sharapova would be provisionally suspended from March 12.
Maria Sharapova has revealed she failed a drugs test at the Australian Open in January.
The 28-year-old former world No 1 tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking since 2006 for health issues.
Maria Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, is provisionally suspended from March 12 pending further action.
“I did fail the test and take full responsibility for it,” she said.
“For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received a letter from the ITF [International Tennis Federation] I found out it also has another name of meldonium, which I did not know.”
Maria Sharapova won the Wimbledon title as a 17-year-old in 2004.
The Russian, who lives in Florida, provided the anti-doping sample in question on January 26, the day she lost to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Photo Getty Images
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) analyzed the sample and returned a positive for meldonium, leading to the Russian being charged on March 2.
“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking that medicine for the past 10 years,” said Maria Sharapova.
“But on January 1 the rules had changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance, which I had not known.”
Maria Sharapova added: “I received an email on December 22 from WADA about the changes happening to the banned list and you can see prohibited items – and I didn’t click on that link.”
She has been the highest-earning female athlete in the world for the past 11 years, according to the Forbes list.
She first reached world No 1 in August 2005 and is currently seventh in the rankings – but she has played just four tournaments since Wimbledon last July as she struggled with an arm injury.
Maria Sharapova, who turns 29 in April, hopes to be able to return to tennis in the future.
However, there had been speculation Maria Sharapova was going to announce her retirement and a large media contingent gathered for the Los Angeles news conference, which was streamed live online.
“I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet,” she said.
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) president Steve Simon said he is “very saddened” at Maria Sharapova’s failed test.
“Maria is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity,” he added.
“As Maria acknowledged, it is every player’s responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible.
“This matter is now in the hands of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program and its standard procedures. The WTA will support the decisions reached through this process.”
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